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A brilliant, witty, fun man, who loved his family and friends, and had a caring and passion for many things, among them physics education, social justice, music and the sociology of sports, passed away at home on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at 91 years of age. Beloved husband of 67 years of the late Mildred Resnick; beloved father of Abby (Roger Day) Resnick of Pittsburgh, PA, Regina Resnick of New York City and the late Trudy Resnick; grandfather of Benjamin Resnick-Day of Brooklyn, NY, Nathan Resnick-Day of Pittsburgh, PA, and Eva Resnick-Day of Pittsburgh; Robert is also survived by many loving relatives and friends. Robert was born in Baltimore Maryland, the son of Abraham and Anna Dubinsky Resnick. He graduated from Baltimore City College high school in 1939 and received his B.A. in 1943 and his Ph.D. in 1949, both in physics from Johns Hopkins University. From 1949 to 1956, he was a member of the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, where he first met David Halliday, with whom he wrote his most widely read textbook used by more than 10 million students worldwide. He later became a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was head of the interdisciplinary science curriculum for 15 years. He authored and co-authored seven textbooks on relativity, quantum physics, and general physics, which have been translated into more than 47 languages. His book titled Physics, co-authored with Halliday, has revolutionized physics education. Resnick believed that physics could make all other knowledge more meaningful. He said, "We've humanized the scientist; now we must scientize the humanist. We didn't try to cover physics...we uncovered it." Resnick was not only a famous physicist, but was also passionate about music (ranging from jazz to ethnic music to opera, symphony, and chamber music), sports (especially the Baltimore Orioles), and social and human justice. He was also a renowned composer, collector, and reciter of limericks. He once gave an exam in limerick form where the students were asked to complete limericks about topics in physics. Resnick not only inspired students but, ripe with years, was someone who continued to teach and engage. His grandchildren treasured his outrageous wit, irreverence, and jovial warm-heartedness even towards the end. Resnick's heroes were Albert Einstein, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franklin Roosevelt. Resnick was himself a hero to many including his students, colleagues, and his family and friends with his compassion and caring, his integrity and wisdom, and his wonderful sense of humor. Services and Interment PRIVATE. Contributions may be made to the Robert Resnick Lecture Series at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Gifts Processing Center, P.O. Box 3164, Boston, MA 02241 or online at http:// or to the Robert Resnick Lecture at Johns Hopkins University, Development and Alumni Relations, San Martin Center, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218- 2696 or online at http:// or to Pittsburgh's peace and social justice center, the Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 or online at donate/. The family will be sitting Shiva at the Wellness Room of Weinberg Terrace, Saturday at 5:45-8:45 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Arrangements entrusted to RALPH SCHUGAR CHAPEL, INC.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Jan. 31, 2014.
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Memories & Condolences
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30 entries
January 25, 2021
I still have and treasure my Resnick Physics textbooks including volume 3 which is in binder form as Proof Resnick was writing this book at the time I was a student at RPI.
Ed Golash
January 25, 2019
Attended RPI 1965-1969. During that time Professor Resnick was writing his text on relativity. He would come to class to explain the book and ask us to look for mistakes. I remember him as a very nice man with well tailored suits.
Ed Golash
May 12, 2014
I just found out about Robert's passing in Physics Today. I thank him for co-authoring "Fundamentals of Physics", or as my professors called it "Halliday & Resnick". I sold many books, but that one was too well done and useful. I've had a lifelong career as an engineer and I credit that career to enjoying physics, in large part to the excellent instruction in this text. Thank you Professor Resnick. May your work continue to inspire others.
Scott Lake
May 9, 2014
As a retired physics teacher and a confirmed physics "groupie," it was with great sadness that I read about his passing in Physics Today. I had the great pleasure of working with him at AAPT and in fact, did something that not too many people have had the opportunity to do: I rendered Bob Resnick speechless. Well, it wasn't for more than nanosecond or so, but he called one day to ask if I was interested in being on the High School Committee of AAPT. I said, no, what I really wanted was to be on the International Comm. It took a second for him to say "yes" because no high school teacher had ever been on that committee! I remember introducing him to my student teacher at the '91 SanAntonio meeting. George was so excited, he said after Bob left,"Wow, I am never going to wash this hand again!" That was the kind of enthusiasm he generated in his students and all who knew him. He was a brilliant man and a fine, fine human being The world is worse off without him.
Yvette Van Hise
March 23, 2014
As a student at RPI, I enjoyed the warmth and energy he brought to Physics lecture, like the time he released a bowling ball in a larger than life physics demonstration, with unbounded enthusiasm and delight. Although I did not know him personally, to this day I marvel at his passion and dedication.
Russell Horn
March 20, 2014
After a talk about Albert Einstein at "Manuel F. Gran" theatre at the Physics Faculty in the University of Havana (CUBA) on April 13, 2005.
Alexander Calzadilla Mendez
March 17, 2014
Back in my days at RPI, I remember being surprised one day at a study session where he himself showed up, instead of the TA, for two reasons. First, that the actual professor and author of our text book would actually come to a low-level study session. (I think I was a sophomore at the time.) Second, by how enthusiastic he was, trying get us to share his interest in the subject, and not just sit there like bumps on a log. A good teacher and a good man.
Stephen Ferrari
February 10, 2014
I am amazed to read all these wonderful things daily of this wonderful man. I knew him as just a good ole soul that often asked how my husband and I were doing. Always wanted to know how old my granddaughter was, and ask if I was spoiling her, and laughed when I said I was. I knew he was brilliant but not to the extent of what these wonderful people put in print. To me he was funny, caring, well groomed man that I did my best to care for in his final years. We always had the best conversations. His family became my family. I find myself really missing him. The place was a bit more brighter with him in it. Rest in peace my dear friend.
Rose Walters LPN
February 8, 2014
I graduated from RPI in 1979 with a B.S in Physics, and I remember Professor Resnick very well, particularly his wit, humor and gentle grace. He was one of a handful of influences in my early life that has led me to be as successful as I have been as an engineer and scientist. I am sure that I am just one of countless many lives he influenced as an educator and mentor. I salute a life well lived.
Michael Krikorian
February 8, 2014
I remember Dr Resnick from my RPI days. He was finishing Vol III on relativity and it was still in loose leaf form. He guest lectured from the new book in my physics class. I remember him as a kind man in a really nice suit !
Ed Golash
February 8, 2014
I was Dr. Resnick's student and advisee at RPI more than 50 years ago, and I fondly remember his intriguing lectures and encouraging advisement. I still use his physics text, now in its 10th edition, in my teaching at Monroe Community College. John Setchell
February 7, 2014
I speak as one of his many students who are grateful for a man so kind and illuminating, and saddened for his family and for us also. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Edward Ahlsen-Girard
February 6, 2014
Dear family,
I read about your Dad's passing in the Baltimore Sunpapers and was deeply saddened with this news. Although we have not seen you, or communicated in a long time, I have not forgotten my childhood days loving Cousin Robert. He was 15 years older than me-- actually my Mother Lil's first cousin, I thought he was my boyfriend. His company at our home was always looked forward to, and we so much enjoyed our times spent together. When he married your beautiful, lovely Mother, I was really jealous. But, as I matured, I got to know and love her too.
His family was so proud of all his life's achievements, and rightly so! He had such an impact on so many others. And, I know how deeply he loved his family. His parents, sister, and cousins all knew how much they meant to him and always looked forward to a visit from him and Mildred in Baltimore.
My own children, who are in their fifties, also remember meeting him and have told me what a fine man they thought he was.
I pray that he will rest in peace, and that all of you will keep those wonderful happy memories of him that you hold so dear, forever.
Gloria Friedman Greenspun
February 4, 2014
Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him, one of his students taught me physics while I was in high school with his book. I referred to him as my uncle Bobby at RPI. I loved physics and still have his book, 30+ years later. I took engineering in college and went to grad school. During the MCAT I derived all the equation I needed and did not miss a single question in physics, 10 years after studying his textbook. He was a master. He was a wonderful teacher.
a f
February 4, 2014
Dr. Resnick's course in Atomic and Nuclear Physics was one of the high points of my undergraduate education (as a Physics major) at RPI. I was enthralled by his lectures AND (more importantly) by his descriptions of how these discoveries were made. Sincerely, Prof. (Emeritus) Ken Nadler, Michigan State University [BS 1963 RPI]
February 4, 2014
I fondly remember Dr. Resnick from my time at RPI. A truly great man and educator.
John Rasmussen
February 4, 2014
His book played the most important role in my career.
Pray to god to give his family the strength, courage and confidence to overcome this tragic loss.
Srinath Beldona
Srinath Beldona
February 4, 2014
His physics books were one of the best I read about physics. He did a wonderful job to teach physics as simple as possible.

We'll miss him.
Felix Marin
February 3, 2014
Ah, such a life to celebrate! As a student of his at RPI, I never knew he was from 'da Burgh..opportunity lost. Reading of his background and contributions, it reverberates the adage of "touched so many lives..."...while it is sad he has left us, please be sure to acknowledge the wealth of contributions provided by him, and that you'll never know the full extent of genuine impact he has had...and that's a true legacy worth emulating. Sympathies to all...

J Miller
February 3, 2014
I experienced Dr. Resnick's lectures and textbook "Physics" as a freshman at RPI in 1972. He helped me see the world in a different way, similar to the experience of what must be many thousands of other students. His was a wonderful impact on the world, and I celebrate that. Deepest sympathy to his family.
Todd Jackson
February 3, 2014
I'm sure I speak for many of his students expressing our sympathies to Prof. Resnick's family and our delight at having him as a teacher. I recall my freshman year at RPI when I first met the author of my textbook in a recitation class. I was struck by how skillfully he would turn confused, awkwardly stated questions into insightful ones and then provided a superb explanation.

Your students will remember and miss you, Professor.
February 3, 2014
Abby - Sincere sympathy to you and your family. Mary Walsh, CHERP
Mary Walsh
February 1, 2014
Thank you all for your touching messages. Please let anyone you think would be interested, that they can go to the following facebook page for Robert Resnick
February 1, 2014
The Resident Attendants of Weinberg Terrace send our deepest sympathies to the family of our dear friend. Thank you for sharing this wonderfu man with us.
January 31, 2014
Bob was a wonderful man. I am glad that I had the pleasure of knowing him and his lovely wife. I will remember them both fondly.
January 31, 2014
I was honored to have met and befriended this wonderful man. I knew he was brilliant but never quite knew the extent of achievements until now. Because, this was the way he was, he just wanted to be treated like the rest of us. Your journey is over my friend, and what a wonderful journey it was. My wife spoke of you as family, she was saddened by your rapid decline, but we both know you join your late daughter and wife in the here-after now. Rest in peace my friend. I was honored to know you and pleased to have you speak so highly of my wife and her work at Weinberg Terrace. You certainly will be remembered as a man among men.
Rich Walters
January 31, 2014
I am so sorry to hear of Robert Resnick's passing. He was one of my favorite people. He was always ready with a smile and a joke when he came in to my office. He will be greatly missed.
Debra Greenberger
January 31, 2014
As a receptionist at Weinberg Terrace, I knew Robert and his wife, Mildred, and their family for many years. Robert reminded me of a true "Renaissance man," a man whose vast knowledge of the arts, music and science was unparalleled. We had some wonderful conversations regarding the arts and the English language where he would always tease me about my "high IQ." I will very much miss his smile and appreciation of life. May he now find peace with Mildred. And may his family find peace in that knowledge.
Carol Manolios
Weinberg Terrace
Carol Manolios
January 31, 2014
Please accept my condolences. - Jeff Pollock, Esq., Sq. Hill
January 31, 2014
What can anyone say about a man with the magnitude of experiences of Mr. Resnick. The education he has, the life's experiences and lessons he has encountered, the way he lived his life, the wonderful wife and family that he has. It is a testament to a life well lived. How do you measure a man in his moments? Robert will hold a special place in my heart. Especially for his wit, charm and caring ways, always wanting to be remembered for who he WAS and not the way he finally thought he was. My thoughts are with his family at this time. Trust me when I tell you this, though many times difficult he has held you in his highest regard. May his memory be eternal. My sympathies to you all.
Rose Walters LPN
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